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EW-Card

The internet is buzzing about Ender’s Game and it’s not in a good way. Skip Ender’s Game recently began a media push to encourage people to host events for their movement to negatively influence the box office success for the upcoming film adaptation. After the Huffington Post ran a story on their campaign, news outlets began to pick it up and the story spread like wildfire.

It’s not an issue that’s new to Ender’s Game fansite owners. I’ve been dreading days like today for years. The issue is one I think about constantly. Back in February I wrote an opinion piece about the controversy. Kelly and I dedicated an entire episode of EnderCast to discussing Card’s views on gay marriage and the effect it could have on the film and everyone involved.

What truly bothers me is that the cast and crew of the film are being forced to bear the burden of Card’s words and actions, which is definitely something that I hold against the author. The bulk of the cast is made up of child actors ranging in age from 12 to 19. They’re in essence being found guilty by association and suffering the consequences of a constant stream of negativity of what is no doubt the pride and joy of many of their careers.

Today, in response to the boycott of the film, Card issued a statement to Entertainment Weekly:

Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot.  The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.

Orson Scott Card

To those curious, I personally am a supporter of gay marriage, which is probably why I think about this issue so much. I constantly feel torn in two different directions. And yes, I have read his anti-gay marriage and anti-government op-ed pieces. I’ve read the Salon.com article. I know he’s on the board of NOM.

I understand why Card is such an easy target. He’s painted a big fat bullseye on his forehead on more than one occasion. However, I don’t think that the right way to deal with his opinions and actions is with further hate. On the Entertainment Weekly article, someone casually commented that someone needs to assault Orson Scott Card, with a description I’m not even going to repeat here. Comments like that are disgusting, disheartening, and downright depressing and all people are doing with words such as those is sinking down to the very level they condemn.

Even though I don’t agree with it, I can respect what Skip Ender’s Game is doing, provided they go about it in a peaceful manner and allow the supporters of the movie the same respect to their own opinions. I don’t know what Geeks Out intends for people to do at their events, but there’s nothing I’d want to say against a peaceful boycott.

And yet, what exactly are people boycotting besides Orson Scott Card?

"He's clean. Right to the heart, he's good."

“He’s clean. Right to the heart, he’s good.”

They’re boycotting a young boy who is so good inside that he can find it in him to love anyone, even his mortal enemies. A boy who is astonishingly bright, a natural leader, and a savior of Earth who has everything dear to him taken away for the greater good of mankind. He is selfless. He is kind. He is a child.

If you haven’t read the book, have I piqued your interest? You don’t have to put money in Card’s pockets to read it. Visit a local library. Borrow it from a friend. You can even read the first five chapters of the book online for free.

My point is, the book is not the author, and you should find out for yourself who Ender Wiggin really is before you skip him because he’s one of the most compassionate and inherently good characters I’ve ever encountered in decades of reading books. Considering the world we live in, I ultimately think it’s more important for people to meet characters like Ender than it is to boycott the movie.

In short, in my humble opinion, the world we live in could certainly use more Enders.

Related posts:

  • Jason Mellott

    The world does need more Enders. But without the manipulation preferably.

    On a more serious note, I still intend to see the movie even though Card’s views are… disturbing. For all we know, Card won’t be making money from ticket sales. And even if he is, how much of it? More than the director, the writers, the actors? Should Gavin, Orci, Asa, Harrison, and all the rest suffer because the film they did happens to be based on an endearing book by an author who is, quite frankly, a bigot? I don’t think so.

    • http://twitter.com/EnderNet EnderWiggin.net

      I look at this movie as supporting them more than supporting him, but in the end I do support him because I believe in Ender.

  • Wendy Clare

    Amen!! Thank you for this…you’ve written a balanced and honest piece. Favorite line: “…I don’t think that the right way to deal with his opinions and actions is with further hate.” I so appreciate your point that this isn’t just about OSC–it’s placing the actors, crew and production folks in the bullseye with him, which just isn’t fair to all their hard work. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THE BOOK that reflects OSC’s views, nor will there be anything in the film.

    Personally, I don’t think the various protests will have that much effect. Why? Am I the only one who’s gotten several friends to read the book, who’s bought extra copies to loan out/give away, who’s planning on seeing the film several times in the theatres, and who’s doing everything possible to spread the word about the movie? I don’t think so. That’s one reason. Another is the stellar cast: Harrison Ford alone will bring people to see this; all the Asa fangurls will be stampeding to the box office for sure; Hailee’s got a huge following, and many people I’ve talked to are impressed when I tell them Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley are also involved.

    But back to what you said…more “hate” won’t solve anything. The protesters will protest, and that’s their right…if that’s where their conscience leads them, more power to them. But to punish the cast and crew, and to judge those who WILL support the film, is just plain selfish, imo.

    I
    don’t think that the right way to deal with his opinions and actions is
    with further hate. – See more at:
    http://www.enderwiggin.net/2013/07/08/supporting-enders-game-isnt-completely-awful/#sthash.OsIclW3I.dpuf
    I
    don’t think that the right way to deal with his opinions and actions is
    with further hate. – See more at:
    http://www.enderwiggin.net/2013/07/08/supporting-enders-game-isnt-completely-awful/#sthash.OsIclW3I.dpuf
    I
    don’t think that the right way to deal with his opinions and actions is
    with further hate. – See more at:
    http://www.enderwiggin.net/2013/07/08/supporting-enders-game-isnt-completely-awful/#sthash.OsIclW3I.dpuf

    • http://twitter.com/EnderNet EnderWiggin.net

      Thanks Wendy! I hope that people will realize exactly what they’re protesting.

  • MajorAnderson

    This is beautiful.

    And very true. I always wonder about people who would kill the patient to defeat the cancer. OSC’s views may be appalling, but there are at least 100 other people working on that movie whose views are nothing like his, and all of whom are being condemned right along with him. And some of them are kids. I mean, is it really morally right to bash a group of young kids and decent people to get at one bigot?

    I’m with you when you say that we need more people like Ender, who are capable of understanding and loving even those who would destroy them. The world would be a better place.

  • Cass

    Borrowing a book from a library does, in fact, give money to their authors. Not much, but it does. Libraries log how many times a book is borrowed, and the author receives royalties based on that figure.

    • http://twitter.com/EnderNet EnderWiggin.net

      Haha, I had no idea! I should check if I’m getting royalties then!

      However, I’d guess the amount the author gets is significantly less. There’s still borrowing from someone else (or buying from a used bookstore)!

  • Kevin

    I agree with all the points you make. I’m a little more pessimistic about the motivations of the boycotts though. They seem to be more interested in the media it brings than the actual outcome which I don’t think is as positive.

    I do see the other side of this too. If OSC makes a billion dollars, a lot of that money could be used to fight causes that the protesters are against.

    In the heart of it though, OSC is Mormon, and if the protesters want actual change then the Mormon church should be the target of that change, not a movie. OSC himself said if the church changed their views then he would also have to change his.(he is related to Brigham Young so in a big way, he’s very much tied to the church and its views.)

    • http://twitter.com/EnderNet EnderWiggin.net

      It makes me sad that they’re so bent on blaming the movie for OSC’s views. Today I saw an image on Twitter that said “Ender’s Shame”. I’m sorry, but what?

    • Connor

      Being related to Brigham Young has nothing to do with whether or not you choose to believe and follow the views of the LDS Church.

      • Kevin

        it doesn’t mean he “has” to follow the views.
        But it does a lot to explain where his views come from.

        Normally a person doesn’t wake up one day and say “hey I want to be a bigot.. or a racist” or something like that. Usually it’s how they grew up and the environment around them.

        And over time, as times change, people also change…. It’s just, that for some people it takes longer and they may be very very old when it happens….

        • Connor

          I agree with your statements. I disagree with the overtones of your comments that all members of the LDS Church are bigoted. That, I know, is a superficial generalization of an entire population of individuals.

  • http://ibmiller.livejournal.com/ Ian Miller

    Thank you for this piece. I actually tend to agree with OSC more than his opponents politically, and I think it’s really frustrating that it’s almost impossible to mention your excitement about Ender’s Game without having to prove you are a right-thinking good person who hates him personally.

    Additionally, even though I find authors like John Scalzi, Joss Whedon, and Ursula LeGuin philosophically comparable in the negative impact they promote to society to that harm people claim OSC’s views will have, I still support them by buying the books and films and television shows they have written. They have written beautiful, skillful, amazing things, and the fact that they promote behaviors and ideas that I find dangerous and problematic doesn’t mean I think I have the right to steal their work or attack their personal lives.

    Boycotting Ender’s Game – absolutely fair (though irritating that the same people get quite angry when the other side boycotts an author or show or film because of its political message – the boycott of Ender’s Game doesn’t even have anything to do with its actual content). Do not spend money on things you do not want to spend money on.

    But don’t promote stealing. And absolutely don’t promote violence or threats of any kind, against OSC or anyone who agrees with or even disagrees with but still choses to buy his books.

    • http://twitter.com/EnderNet EnderWiggin.net

      You’ve piqued my curiosity about Joss Whedon. What about him is in question?

      • http://ibmiller.livejournal.com/ Ian Miller

        Hmm, my first response seemed to have gotten eaten by my computer.
        Anyway, as I implied in my first response, I’m a conservative Christian, so what I find offensive/problematic in Whedon’s work is not likely to be same as what other find problematic. However, in my conversations with my more liberal, feminist friends, we’ve noticed disturbing trends in the way Whedon deals with gender, feminism, and race. Racial minorities tend to get erased or put on the back burner, the way women are both empowered and objectified is an uneasy tension, etc.

        • http://twitter.com/EnderNet EnderWiggin.net

          Do you have some specific examples? Do you mean Dollhouse? I do agree that one had women both empowered and yet enslaved, and yet Dollhouse is one of my favorite shows because of the ethical dilemmas it made you think about.

          I actually find Card’s treatment of women in EG to be worse. Every time I read that line about how women simply aren’t “built” right for Battle School, it ruffles my feathers. Plus he makes Petra be the one to fall and then repeats it over and over in the Shadow series. That was a serious turnoff for me.

          • http://ibmiller.livejournal.com/ Ian Miller

            It’s been a while since I went through my Whedon stuff. I really dislike Dollhouse, and most of my conversations about Whedon’s problematic treatment of feminism do come from that show, but I think there’s also some elements in the way Buffy worked.

            Card, women, and EG – it is a bit problematic, though as someone who does not identify as a feminist, my perspective on the issue is likely quite different than a lot of fans. I think that given the times, having Petra and later Virlomi play such huge roles in the military was actually pretty important. Petra falling – yes, if you try to and run a numbers crunch on who falls and who doesn’t, it looks bad – but I don’t think anywhere her failure during the missions was linked to her gender or her femininity. Vlad fails as well, and he’s nowhere near as compelling or competant as Petra in the Shadow series. I’m not quite sure what you mean that Petra repeats it over and over again – do you mean she obsesses over her failure? Or that she fails again and again. Because I don’t see the latter at all. The former makes a lot of sense, and I like the way she works through the guilt of failure and becomes one of the scariest of the jeesh in the war for Earth.

          • MajorAnderson

            I have this discussion a lot with men – they don’t see that it is important who fails, and that Vlad failing and Petra failing is not the same. Petra is the only girl because, according to the book, women are naturally given to weakness/don’t have the personality to lead and fight. But there is one woman who proves this wrong, because she is actually one of the most brilliant commanders in the Jeesh. To make her the FIRST one to fail, to give in to weakness, is a statement. If one of the males fails – well, someone has to. But to make it the only girl in the group is a strategy. There have been discussions for years and years about whether women should serve in the military or be police officers. One major argument even policemen I know make is that “A chain is always only as strong as the weakest link, and women are weaker, so they are the weakest link and endanger us all.” Petra is made to be the weakest link in Ender’s Game. Even the weakest of the guys (Vlad) is stronger than her. As a feminist, I see that as a problem.

            The argument that it could have easily been a male, and that the girls should’t be depicted as infallible or stronger doesn’t count either. Because society is of a kind that men still own more property, earn more money and have more power statistically (single examples to the contrary are nice, but don’t prove absolute equality). Women therefore need empowerment, and depicting the only strong female figure in a book as the weakest of them all is worse than depicting a man/boy to be. Men are already the more powerful group politically, socially, and economically. To depict one of them as weak doesn’t change that. But when you have a strong female to challenge this notion of male superiority, only for her to come out as weaker even than the weakest of them, that is dangerous.

          • http://twitter.com/EnderNet EnderWiggin.net

            My view of where he took Petra in the Shadow series is almost a different animal and I probably shouldn’t have brought it into the mix. I mostly take issue with how in EG Battle School was mostly a school for all boys with the occasional girl because girls aren’t cut out for it and then the ONE girl on his jeesh is the one to fail. But I also “excuse” that because of the time Card was living in when he wrote the book.

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  • Jason

    First, I’ll state my position on gay rights. Second, I’ll state my opinions about the movie so that you can judge them.

    First: I am pro gay rights. I have supported gay rights in the past.

    Second: People have strong feelings about the beliefs and tenets of religion for and against. People also want their voices heard. But most people can not talk directly to OSC regarding his views. The best they can do is hit extensions of him, i.e. the EG movie. For these people, the EG movie is an easier target. It is therefore easier to boycott the whole movie to get to OSC. I have a few opinions:

    1) People other than OSC are hurt

    * The movie contains the contributions of OSC, Gavid Hood, Robert Orci, Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailey Stanfield (sp?), etc… Boycotting the film targets not only OSC, but everyone else associated with it. These people calling for a boycott better be pretty sure that Gavid Hood, Robert Orci, Harrison Ford, Asa, Hailey, and others hold the same views as OSC, otherwise those calling for this boycott are targetting innocent adults and children. How is that justified? Do you support gay rights advocates that justify associating and harming innocent adults and children

    2) Make your objection to OSC’s gay rights views by supporting the movie

    * If you have read the book, Ender’s Game has no references, either for or against gay rights. It is simply a non-issue for the story. By supporting the movie, you are sending a message to OSC about what you, the viewer, find acceptable.

    – One might argue: ‘Yes, but if I support the movie, OSC will get my money.’

    + My response: OSC already has enough money. Keeping him from having more more money isn’t a powerful message.

    – Another might argue: ‘Yes, but if I support the movie, he’ll take that money he makes to fight against gay rights.’

    + My response: That might happen. Lets assume he did. I think the backlash would be so considerable, it would then kill any plans for a sequel. People would forget that EG was not pro/con gay rights. And see it as a tool for OSC’s motives. I do not think he’ll do this for several reasons:

    a) He’s publically stated his opinion is ‘mute’ considering the Supreme Court decision. Does anyone really think he’d pour enough money into a movement to overturn a Supreme Court decision?

    b) I do not think he’d sacrifice additional sequels, which have no gay rights positions present, if EG was successful and a sequel was planned.

    3) EG has such broad appeal because it has so many facets that everyone can either identify with or aspire to.

    * I agree with Crystal concerning the qualities the EG story effuses. I read through the Enderverse series without even a hint that OSC had strong religious views. It was a surprise to me to learn of his personal views, less than a year ago. So, what that tells me, is that I like what was in the story.

    One final note. It is interesting to me how OSC’s personal views were not an issue when only people that read were aware of EG. Readers typically do not judge a book by its cover. In contrast, I think these boycotters are judging the book (movie) by its cover (OSC).

  • dws689

    I remember back in the 1980′s when Don Wildmon was calling for Christians to boycott all kinds of companies who supported things they disagreed with, and everyone said how bad it was to force your agenda on people by boycotts like that.

  • Matthew Taylor

    Firstly, we’re being asked to come and see a film of OSC’s most famous sci-fi story. We’re not being asked to vote for him. Therefore it doesn’t matter what he thinks about anything else.

    If you don’t want to give him money, for fear that he will use it to promote ideas that you disagree with, then you ought to apply the same rule across the board – I imagine you will end up staying home a lot. How do you feel about Scientology? The NRA?

    What about actor’s / director’s private lives? Can they be taken into consideration too when considering whether a project deserves one’s patronage? Where does it stop?

    I believe that this is a symptom of consumerist megalomania. People have been pandered to by any number of companies, conditioned to believe that they are all kings. And what do kings do? They sit in judgement. In short, people need to get over themselves – a human being has many different aspects, and it’s perfectly possible to find some those aspects delightful, and others reprehensible.

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  • MrAwesome

    Card is a disgusting pig.

  • MoonRidder

    Something I just want to add, and some people have probably already said this, is that EG has none of OSC’s anti-gay agenda in it. In fact both I and the person who got me into this series were surprised to find out how openly anti-gay and strict mormon he was. The story itself had always seem to me to have some undertones that weren’t always right wing conservative if you catch my drift. Either way I will be supporting the movie though I don’t care whatsoever for the author.

  • Stephen Sywak

    You can also go here:

    http://www.razoo.com/team/endersgamefans4equality

    and show your support for LGBT rights by donating to a cause of your choice

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